My wife would likely faint if I bought her flowers for no reason. While there is no one else I would rather spend time with, and while I often tell her how much I love her, I rarely lavish her with flowers, candies, or gifts. If I suddenly did, she would wonder what I am up to.
I do, though, often ask to spend time with her. Though we work different hours, we manage to eat dinner together often, go to see a good movie occasionally or watch a TV show when we can. I love spending time with her. I want to be with her and I want her to be proud of me. Why? Because I know she loves me and also wants to be with me.
Isn’t that why we want to walk with Jesus? Don’t we want to be like Jesus because we love and admire Him? And, one reason we love and admire Him because He first loved us? Didn’t He demonstrate that love for us by rescuing us from sin and death through the sacrifice of His own life?
1 Thessalonians 4, Paul urges us to live in a manner that pleases God. Then he mentions specifics. Let’s read it together. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (NKJV):
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Paul is writing to the Christian Church; he calls them brothers and sisters. He distinguishes their behavior from that of the pagans, and tells them that God expects them to be different. The pagans are sexually immoral, depraved, and are ruled by passion and lust. He encourages Christians to control their bodies and to be act with honor, to be holy.
It is God’s will that we be sanctified, Paul says. God called us to be holy, not impure.
So what does God mean when He tells us to avoid sexual immorality? The Greek word used to express sexual immorality is porneia, which is from where we drive the terms pornography and fornication. While the term pornography likely needs no definition, many may be unfamiliar with the word fornication. Fornication means two people who are not married to each other sharing sexual relations.
So, is that the definition of sanctification? Does it mean giving up certain sexual practices that are sinful? No. There is much more to it than that. Sexual immorality is what Paul wished to address, but it is simply one small part of living a holy life.
Is we love God, we will want to please Him, and turning away from sexual immorality is just one of many things that Paul mentions in this book.
That, though, is not the real point is this devotion. I am not here to create an updated list of thou shalt nots.
I am here to tell you that God loves you and doesn’t want to see you hurt, and sexual immorality leads to destruction.
Avoid destruction and let Him rid you of sexual perversion and lust and fill you instead with His love.